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What happens when you have eaten through all your supplies of dehydrated, canned, and stored food?  Even the most optimistic among us should not begin eating on your stores of food without giving a thought as to what comes next. What if the next emergency lasts two years?

When your freeze dried food or packaged foods and stockpiles of hard red winter wheat are gone, you will have to have a plan for keeping your family fed. Not only do you have to worry about where the food will come from, but there won’t be any nutritional labels anymore if we are “eating off the land”.

Thinking about food differently than what we have been used to, for what have amounted to decades of prosperity in the United States is not always easy. Maintaining a proper balance of food may be difficult or even impossible. What if you are barely able to get enough food to survive?

 

What I want to discuss is planning for renewable food options that will give you a balanced nutritional supply to keep everyone in your group healthy.

The essentials

Foods are broken down into three groups:  carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.  You need a balance of each of these things to maintain a high level of health. Some foods may contain mixtures of both groups. Nuts, for instance, are primarily a source of fat and protein.  Providing these and other vital foods to your body cuts down on the stress your body must endure in a survival situation, allows your brain to function and keeps your immune system from being vulnerable to viral and bacterial attacks.

When you have to reduce the amount of food you are taking in, the body starts reverting to using the energy you already have stored. Your body stores energy in the muscles and fat.  This is where the body pulls its energy from if you are forced to go without food for any period of time. Ideally, you are not pulling from your body’s reserves at any time, but providing your body the fuel it requires for survival.

Sources of Protein

It is important to plan now for a renewable source of each of the different types of nutritional elements you will need to stay healthy.

Meat of course, canned meats or dehydrated are the simplest options, but once they are gone what will you eat? I know a lot of people who say they are going to walk into the nearest state park and hunt for game. This will work well for a few people until all of the big game has moved on or has been killed.

 

The easiest way for most people to have their own renewable source of protein is raising chickens and rabbits. Chickens pull double duty as egg layers and a source of meat. Rabbits are prolific at reproducing. That’s why there are several sayings that have rabbits at the heart of the pun… Rabbits are easy to raise and don’t take up much room.

In the garden, beans are wonderful because they are relatively easy to grow and you have the seeds for next year’s crop right there. I also recommend these for stocking up initially as they have a long shelf life. Beans are also one of the most economical items to stock up on as you can buy a 10 pound bag for a few dollars. That same bag will give you a lot of meals if you augment the beans with other supplies.

Barley also contains protein, but few people would be able to grow enough barley to feed their family. If you have a large plot of land, this may be a good option.

Nuts are a wonderful natural source of protein and nut trees can be grown in most climates.  You have to harvest quickly, though, because there will be other hungry critters out there trying to get to your nut tree first.

Important note: If you are rationing water supplies and still searching for a clean drinkable source, you will want to cut down on your protein intake.  Proteins produce urea which your body flushes out of the kidneys.  In order to process the urea properly, your body must have ample amounts of water.  Therefore, lack of water would be problematic if combined with a night of indiscretion where you find yourself consuming large quantities of jerky and salt pork and chasing it with the only bottle of Macallan whiskey left on the planet.   Living like this on your final rations would cause you to die of dehydration before starvation.

Sources of Fat

Fresh meats contain fat. Wild animals will have less of this and rabbits as I mentioned above are actually very lean so you wouldn’t want to rely on that meat for your daily fat intake. Chickens aren’t the same and are wonderful sources of both protein and fat. Fishing is a good source if you live near a body of water that isn’t polluted or over fished by the others who don’t have a supermarket to go to anymore.

 

Avocados, nuts, and flax seed are great sources of healthy fat also.  Avocado can be grown in some climates, nuts and flax seed can be stored, but do not have a long shelf life.  Again, growing your own is your best bet.

Sources of Carbohydrates

All fruits and vegetables and this is the primary reason behind your own garden. Depending on where you live, there will be a sufficient variety of vegetables that can be grown to provide you with all of the Carbs you need. Making sure you have this taken care of before the SHTF is a crucial item to consider. You aren’t going to go dig up your back yard very easily and plant a bumper crop of Martha Stewart worthy veggies your first year.

Grains and rice or any foods that contain these items or are made with flour (grains such as wheat are best kept in their whole wheat berry form; it can keep for up to 30 years in its raw state in a vacuum sealed container or bucket). Growing wheat is a great option if you live in the mid-west as a rule. This won’t be feasible for city dwellers in sufficient quantities unless you take over a golf course or a football field and re-purpose them. Not that this isn’t possible, but grains would be lower on my list of possible replacements.

Sugars and honey (honey is the best for storing because it has a virtually endless shelf life; it may crystallize over time, but it is still good). This is one reason why so many Preppers raise bees. They not only pollinate the garden and your fruit and nut trees, but they make wonderful honey.

Simple Rules to Remember

  1. Simple sugars like candy are carbohydrates, but they break down very quickly.  They may give you a boost of quick energy, but you will quickly hit a wall and be depleted and useless.
  2. In the event  you find yourself without a good source of heat to keep your body warm, simple carbs will be your friend.  The body uses them to tap into fat reserves and it will cause you to burn more calories, thus keeping you warmer.  You should graze simple carbs to maintain your body temperature.
  3. Fats should be included in every small meal because fat combined with carbs gives your body a slow and steady burn of nutrients.  You won’t hit a wall as quickly if you add fat to your meal.
  4. In higher altitude, cut back fat consumption because fat requires oxygen to oxidize their components. High fat intake increases the risk of altitude illness.
  5. Protein is necessary for the building and repair of body tissues.  It regulates body processes such as: water balance, transporting nutrients, and making muscles work better.  Proteins also aid in preventing the body from becoming easily fatigued by producing stamina and energy.

You can calculate your body’s protein needs with this formula: Weigh in pounds divided by 2.2 = weight in kg.  Multiply weight in kg X o.8-1.8 and this will tell you how many grams of protein must be consumed.

 

Gorp Anyone? 

What is the perfect food, you may ask?  Good Old Raisins and Peanuts, or Gorp for short.  The Native American Indians had survived many harsh winters and lived off the land well before we brought our refrigerators and local markets.  They ate berries and nuts because this is the perfect mixture of all three components your body needs to survive.  The berries or fruit provide essential carbs and nuts give your body the fats and proteins for sustained energy and strength.  If you find yourself on the go and have to carry your food with you this is one of the best food sources available.  I also recommend M&Ms even though I am pretty certain the Indians didn’t have access to them.  They are a source of simple carbohydrates and they are delicious, too!


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What happens when you have eaten through all your supplies of dehydrated, canned, and stored food?  Even the most optimistic among us should not begin eating on your stores of

When we sit down with the goal to be prepared and self-sufficient, we have to balance a lot. We already walk tightropes between work and home life in many cases. Adding a pursuit that could really be its own full-time job only makes things harder. The self-sufficiency arm alone could occupy a full work week, and for some, the future looms as a period when we may have to increase our physical vigilance on top of producing our own food, medicine, and supplies.

There are methods we can use to make gardens maintenance friendly, and plant selections can ease it further. In some cases, there are plants that grow with few inputs and are specific to our regions. In other cases, we can also decrease our labors in a work-heavy and typically strength-sapping hot season by making selections that ease the other side of growing and harvesting.

Processing & Storage

Whether it’s annuals, an annual veggie garden, or perennials, whatever methods for production we choose takes time away from our daily lives. Then our produce needs to be processed, one way or another.

Even now when most lives are relatively easy due to power tools, refrigeration, and transportation, we tend to be pretty busy. I think most of us expect that even without the tug of paying jobs and some of the extracurricular activities that suck up our time, a life “after” will be just as busy and in some or many cases, even more labor intensive.

When we examine that “labor” word in regards to processing food, don’t forget that it’s not only the physical act of shelling beans and field peas, and our chosen method for threshing and winnowing grains or stripping corn cobs, or stewing tomatoes and slicing up zucchini. Most storage methods – even the truly historic methods – call for supplies: canners, jars, copious lids, a dehydrator or outdoor netted racks of some sort (and cooperative weather), a cold smoker, or things like salt, sugar, pectin and rennet we either have to stock or figure out how to produce.

When we process something, we also regularly have to provide fuel. Besides water and gardening, I think fuel consumption for household processes is one of the most underrated and underestimated aspects for preppers.

If we can eliminate some of the burden of processing foods for storage, we can eliminate not only some of the draw on our valuable time, but also limit some of the constant drains on supplies, and give us at least a little bit of backup in case our supplies are damaged or consumed.

Happily, we can create those backups pretty easily, by adding traditional storage or “cellar” crops https://morningchores.com/root-cellars/ to our garden and orchard plans. They basically go from field to storage, poof, done.

I’ll skip over beans and cereals this time, because they really need their own articles. Instead, I’ll stick with the veggies and fruits that are easiest to store without much if any processing.

Squashes

Squashes are among the best-known storage crops. Autumn or winter squashes are the longer-growing, thicker-skinned cucurbits. It’s those tough hides we have to work through that let us sit them on a shelf and walk away, for weeks or months on end. There’s a long, long list from all climates that includes kabocha, spaghetti, kuri, Hubbard squashes, the gourds, and pumpkins.

Squash are ready for storage when the rinds darken, and you can’t punch a fingernail through them. The plants sometimes cue us that they’re ready by yellowing and dying back a bit, and in many cases the vines will go woody. We then cut them off with a stub of stem attached, brush any soil or debris loose, and let those thick skins toughen up more with a 1-2 week cure in a 75-80 warm, somewhat dry space, up off the ground. They can be cured in the field, propped up, but there are risks there that a barn or crib can help eliminate.

Then they go into a slightly humid space – the average basement, household pantry, spare bedroom or office, and dry cellar is fine. Some will store for 6-8 weeks even at 60-75 degrees, while others will only store that long even at the ideal 45-60 degrees. Some like Hopi and fully-matured tromboncino will store for a full year or longer.

The downside to the winter squashes is that they tend to take a full season to grow, and only produce a few to a handful of fruits per plant, compared to the tender summer squashes that can be producing in 55-65 days and readily fill a laundry basket when they’re picked often and early.

Humid Sand-Box Crops

Some of our storage crops like it damp. It keeps them from shriveling up and browning, or wilting into rot. We can create humidity with damp sand or sawdust, layering in root veggies like rutabaga/sweedes, turnips, beets, parsnips, carrots, and celeriac. The root veggies are also ideal candidates for burying in a wooden crate outside once temperatures drop.

We can also use damp boxes to store cabbage, celery and leeks.

For them, shallower trays work well, because we’re going to cut them with a section of their stems still attached, and “plant” those stems into the sand or sawdust. The veggies will then wick up moisture that lets them be stored for weeks or months.

They’ll store longer if we can keep them between about 35 and 45 degrees, but even 55-60 degrees can significantly extend their shelf lives. If we can’t come up with a damp box or pit for them, we can also individually wrap them in plastic to help hold in moisture. (And now you have a justification for keeping every plastic grocery bag that crosses your path.)

Tree Fruits

Nuts have to be the next-best known storage crops, and right there with them are apples and pears.

Modern supermarket apple varieties don’t store quite as long or as well in many cases, with the exception of Granny Smith that will sit on a counter for weeks and extend into a month and longer if we drop the temperatures.

There are still storage apples out there although we have to work harder to find them. Braeburn and Pippin are examples of surviving apples that were actually intended to sit around in storage for a while, sweetening and softening over time . We can also turn to the harder baking, cider and applesauce apples like Winesap.

We’ll have better luck storing the tart apples than the sweets, and the firm-crisp apples and pears over softer varieties. Mid-and late-season varieties are also more storage friendly, usually, and can provide us with fresh fruit later in the season.

Apples will do best in a cool, 40-65 degree storage space, and will do better yet if we save some newspaper and phone book pages to wrap them in and stick them on racks with 0.5-1” of air space between each fruit and each layer.

Pears will be even happier if they’re given the same treatment but an even colder space – just above freezing up to about 50 degrees. Pears will also commonly benefit from a cure period after they’re harvested.

Both pears and apples like storage with some humidity, which makes them good candidates for storage above some of our damp boxes, but only the leafy veg boxes. The root veggies are pretty sensitive to the ethylene released by fruits.

Medlars that “blat” (rot) are another example of a tree fruit that we don’t have to rush around processing during some of the busiest times of the year. It’s an acquired taste and texture, ever so slightly reminiscent of apple butter, but especially if we want to keep our food production hidden in plain sight, medlars may be a nice choice for us.

Nuts are pretty easy, even soft-shelled peanuts. Pick, brush, stack in a dry place, move on.

One thing to note is that walnuts that are removed from their husks will be less tart/bitter than those that aren’t processed at all. On the other hand, one of the “cheat” ways to remove that husk is to just stack them up in a bag until it rots and can just be scrubbed, or to leave them in water until the husk rots and drops away.

Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes

Potatoes and sweet potatoes need to make it through our winters and in many cases all the way through the earliest parts of spring, so we have even more reason to start practicing with them as soon as possible. See, they’re not really flowering seed producers at this stage in evolution, and it takes a while for seed starts to get going, just like tomatoes. We’re going to have to cut potatoes and let them callous, and-or grow starts from them if we want to continue reaping potatoes and sweet potatoes in a world without Tractor Supply and Baker Creek.

After harvest, both sweet potatoes and true potatoes are brushed off, then cured.

Potatoes cure best at 50-60 degrees for 2-4 weeks. To be at all soft and palatable, sweets need to cure in a warm but not too hot space, 80-85 degrees, and usually don’t need more than two weeks.

That’s similar with Asian and African yams for the most part, although some of those need a little longer or will tolerate hotter cure temps.

We’re typically harvesting sweets and yams when it’s still pretty warm, but if we need to heat space for them, we can use coolers or insulate small pantries or closets, and rotate in jugs and pots of hot water. We can also potentially use our vehicles or camper shells as a hot zone for curing sweets and yams, but we need to monitor the temps and be able to provide ventilation if it gets too hot during the day, and keep the temperatures up at night.

Once they’re cured, potatoes and sweet potatoes like the same moderate humidity we can find in most household basements, pantries, and spare rooms. Sweet potatoes really want to stay at 50-60 degrees for their storage, but potatoes will handle a dug-in pit that only gets as low as 45 or so, or can sometimes be stored in rooms adjacent to barns, greenhouses, or coops – reaping the body heat but not too much of it.

Storage Crops

Spring, summer, and autumn are already pretty busy seasons for a lot of us. Family obligations and things like fishing and hunting are already in competition with our gardens, orchards, crops, any livestock we own or other projects. They’re also the seasons we need to get buildings and power sources repaired, and wood cut and stocked.

Summer, and in many places autumn as well, are also our drought seasons, which means unless we have reliable water sources and backups for them, we can expect to do some heavy hauling – and some of us may already be filling barrels and buckets and tanks to haul for livestock and gardens.

Add in the mega-disasters and regional or wide-scale hungers some expect, or even the increased risks of garden and livestock threats from desperate humans a la Great Depression, Venezuela, and some of the dissolution and wars that have faced Europeans in the last century, and we can expect to spend more time on defense, as well.

Those are all factors that makes it worthwhile to consider crops that don’t need much processing. Autumn squashes, apples, carrots, nuts, and potatoes that need minimal work before being crated or stacked on shelves can save us valuable time. Maybe that’s time we’re harvesting livestock and grains, or maybe that’s time we’re shelling green peas, peeling tomatoes, and slicing crookneck for the dehydrator or pressure canner.

Even if our storage conditions aren’t ideal, the ability to produce crops that can sit for even just a few weeks can buy us time to get in precious hay and straw, and deal with the more perishable yields of our gardens and orchards.

While there are some drawbacks to various storage crops, there are also a lot of benefits – both now and “if/when”.

When we sit down with the goal to be prepared and self-sufficient, we have to balance a lot. We already walk tightropes between work and home life in many cases.

Americans like to spend money on their landscapes – a LOT of money. According to the National Gardening Association, the amount invested in lawns and landscapes in this country has ranged from $29 billion to almost $45 billion annually over the last few years.

Research has shown that there’s some practical value to well-planned and maintained landscaping, including an increase in appraised real estate value and a significant reduction in utility costs, but whenever I see someone spending their Saturday installing expensive rolls of turf grass or hundreds of impatiens, I’m tempted to ask the question my grandfather asked my grandmother about her houseplants: “Why would you grow something you can’t eat?”

I’m not anti-lawn (not totally anyway; the kids DO need a place to play football), but as a vegetable gardener and someone with an interest in preparedness, it troubles my spirit to see so much time, energy and cash going to pretty specimen plants and yard grasses and so little going to food crops for a particular household.

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Imagine a food garden that you only have to plant once in your life-time, that takes up very little space, that will provide food for you and your family for the next 30 years

But is it possible to have the best of both worlds? And even if you already have a large vegetable garden and orchards, the diversity of edible landscapes can help fill in the gaps in your food security. For instance, think about what would happen if an insect or disease problem wiped out your apples or corn. Plus, plants worked into a landscape are more covert. The average person wouldn’t likely be able to identify a berry- or nut-producing shrub in a landscape bed unless they actually laid eyes on the berries or nuts.

Creating your Edible Landscape

Below are twelve plants to consider for your home environment that are both attractive and edible. Depending on where you’re located, some of these may not grow well in your particular USDA hardiness zone, so do your homework. Your local extension service can recommend other alternatives. Many of these can slip nicely into traditional landscapes, too, in case you have a homeowner association critiquing your every move.

Blueberries

Blueberries have appeal in all four seasons. The white blossoms of spring, the summer fruits, the red fall foliage and the bark texture visible in winter all make this plant a good fit for your landscape, and a healthy blueberry bush will bear for up to 50 years!

You’ll need cross-pollination, so select at least two different varieties that bloom at the same time. And as with all crops, know the pH of the site you’ve chosen before planting. Blueberries prefer an acidic pH of 4.5 to 5.3, so if it’s higher than this, you can adjust by adding a small amount of sulfur.

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Serviceberry

When I was a child, my grandmother always sang the praises of the “sarvis” tree, also know regionally as shadbush or Juneberry. The fruits look similar to a blueberry, although the two aren’t related. The serviceberry is a tree, not a shrub, and can reach heights in the landscape of up to 25 feet tall (and even taller in a natural environment).

serviceberryripecloseup

Bake them into pies, puddings or muffins. Dehydrate them like raisins.

I had to attend a conference this past summer, and I discovered that serviceberry had been used quite effectively in the inn’s formal, manicured landscape, and it was bearing prolifically among the more conventional ornamental choices.

Kousa dogwood

This Asian dogwood looks similar to the flowering dogwood native to the eastern U.S., but it’s more disease-resistant, it performs better in full sun, and it has edible fruits the size of a small plum. These can be eaten raw or used to make jams or jellies.

Cornelian cherry

Not actually a cherry at all, but another species of dogwood, the fruits from this tree are tart and versatile. In the U.S., they’re typically used to make jam, but in parts of Europe or the Middle East where this species is native, the fruits might be used in the distillation of vodka or served as a salted summertime snack.

Passionflower

Nine species of passionflower are native to the U.S., and other species are commercially produced in tropical climates for juice, which can be found on the shelves of most larger supermarkets. Juice can be produced from most of our native species as well, but the maypop or purple passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is considered the best.

PassionFlower

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Where you may typically have ornamental vines like clematis running up a mailbox or trellis, consider passionflower instead.

Currants

Currants are related to gooseberries but have no thorns. Currants are one of the few fruits that perform well in partial shade, so if you have a corner of your yard that doesn’t get solid sunlight from morning until evening, consider these.

Currants

From early June through August, this bright, tangy fruit is at its flavorful peak. Enjoy it in recipes that are sweetly irresistible.

Currants come in a range of colors, from black to red to pink to white, but be mindful that some types could be illegal in your state. This is a carryover from the early 20th Century, when it was discovered that black currants were an alternate host for white pine blister rust, a disease which negatively impacted the timber industry.

Rhubarb

With its large leaves and red stalks, rhubarb can fit nicely into an ornamental bed, serving as an effective groundcover. Once established, a rhubarb patch can be productive for more than 15 years, and it’s very winter hardy.

rhubarb

Rhubarb is often dubbed the “pie plant,” and the stalks, soft and delectable when baked, do make a divine pie filling.

The stalks are an acquired taste, but many folks like to mix them with strawberries in pies and cobblers. In Asia, they’re used as a vegetable and added to stews. More unusual methods of using rhubarb would include dried and candied stalks, and some folks even like to eat them raw.

Sunchokes

Native-to-the-U.S. sunchokes grow aggressively, and they’re difficult to eradicate once established, so never plant them where you might want to grow something else down the road. The tubers can be used like potatoes, and they’re often promoted as a potato substitute for diabetics, since their storage carbohydrate is inulin instead of starch. Inulin converts to fructose rather than glucose in the digestive system.

Sunchokes

Jerusalem artichokes, or sunchokes, are starchy tubers like potatoes and turnips.

Sunchokes are also known as Jerusalem artichokes, but they’re no relation to the actual artichokes found in the supermarket. Since it’s technically a native sunflower, the mature plants will produce dozens of small, yellow flowers on four- to nine-foot plants.

Amaranth

Glancing through the catalog of a company that carries amaranth will give you an idea of the diversity of varieties. Amaranth can be grown as a grain, a forage, a leafy vegetable or as an ornamental. The colors and seed head shapes vary wildly. For flour production, amaranth is naturally gluten-free.

Be wary if saving seeds from amaranth, because they’ll cross-pollinate with weedy cousins like lamb’s quarters or pigweed.

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Bamboo

There are two warnings that go along with a desire to establish bamboo in a landscape. The first is that bamboo can be extremely invasive. If planting the running varieties in particular – as opposed to clumping varieties – be sure to use a subterranean barrier, or else your neighbor’s hay field may soon become a bamboo forest.

The other warning concerns the use of bamboo shoots as a food source. While the shoots are popular and high quality, there exists a slight possibility of infection by the fungal pathogen ergot. Ergot affects other grass species such as rye, wheat and barley, too. Ingestion of ergot can cause hallucinations and death.

However, you can learn to identify the presence of ergot easily, and it’s more likely to occur in wet weather.

Once you’ve dealt with the invasiveness and the potential for ergot, bamboo can be an excellent plant for the homestead. In addition to the shoots, it can be a perpetual source of material for structures, furniture, fencing and trellising, and it’s an effective privacy screen.

I’m tempted to ask the question my grandfather asked my grandmother about her houseplants: “Why would you grow something you can’t eat?”

Your home should be your castle. For all the talk in the preparedness community about bugging out and heading for the country, unless your home is under direct attack, it is a far better plan to attempt to stay at home. It’s where your food supply is, it’s where your clothes and your tools are, and hopefully you have a solid, dependable roof over your head.

The fall and winter is usually the last time that you’d think about your outdoor areas, but it’s the ideal time to start planning for what you can do this spring and summer to help improve your home’s preparedness plan. Here are some great features to consider when creating your plan:

Food & Water Storage

Your backyard might not be the first place you think of when you start considering food and water storage, but it’s actually quite convenient.

The ideal food storage idea you can have in your backyard is a root cellar. If you’re creating a big one, you simply need to dig a large hole, build supports for the wall, and set up some form of ceiling with an air flow, add an entrance, and you have a walk-in storage solution for many of your vegetables that will keep your produce cool for the season.

Smaller root cellars can be as simple as burying a cooler in a shady spot, or digging a hole and covering the area with something. These are not the greatest or largest solutions, but they’ll work in a pinch.

Putting a survival cache in your own tree is also an option. PVC pip can be used to create an airtight seal that can contain anything you think you might need in order to survive. What’s nice about the cache is that in case of a fire, flood, or home invasion, at least you’ll have something you can use to get you through a tough time.

For Water Storage, a cistern is an excellent solution. Cisterns are usually buried under your lawn, but could be free-standing. In either case, this is something you likely will want to have professionally installed, as mistakes could lead to thousands of gallons of water flooding your property. Either way, these large storage tanks take much of the guesswork out of storing water for an SHTF situation, and are made large enough that they will be useful as water for people, plants and cleanliness.

If not a large cistern, then how about a rain barrel connected to your gutter system. When well managed, rain barrels are a great method of securing a source of water for your survival garden at least, and for your family in a pinch.

You could also consider installing a pond or large fountain, which would be the most scenic water storage choice, although likely the least practical for usage, as the water would require a more significant filtering and cleaning process before use.

Living Space

This past summer, when considering my preparedness plan, I noted that one thing we really needed was a redundant way to cook our food. We have gas appliances in our home, and I have a propane tank attached to the grill outside, but otherwise, we had no dedicated space or method for cooking. We solved this by putting a firepit in our backyard, along with a simple firewood storage box to keep nearby. Now we have a dedicated cooking area that will last as long as we keep getting branches from our trees (in other words, forever).

We ended up using our firepit so much that I installed a pergola, a few garden trellis walls, and a patio stone floor, and now we have almost a “room” outside where we can cool off, warm up, or camp out quite easily with minimal equipment. I’d feel comfortable out there with just a blanket if the weather permits.

My wife and I also like to adapt the kid’s stuff towards preparedness in some way. Our daughter’s play area includes a triangular set of trellises, and during the summer months, we plant pole beans around them to create a kind of teepee. Her tire swing and treehouse are built into our sugar maple, which we tap annually for syrup. She also has a small playhouse with a few built-in planters outside and a living roof that has a few herbs growing on top.

If you have the space for a shed, you could easily build one of those as a guest house, useful for storage, and if it’s far enough away from your main home, an easy bug out location on the premises in case of fire, flood or other catastrophe.

Food Growth & Gardening

Of course, in an SHTF situation, your backyard will serve as your grocery store. Raised plant beds are easy to install in any grassy area, and are perfect for growing all manner of veggies. Simply purchase the wood or bricks you wish to use, and lay them out in the area you choose. Build the wall at least four to six inches deep, and you’ll have enough soil to grow a bunch of different veggies in. If you want to go the extra mile and put landscaping fabric underneath, that may help control weeds, but it’s not necessary, and many people (myself included) have had mixed results.

In addition to raised beds, you can consider creating miniature greenhouses. Build a box with a glass or plastic lid that can be easily raised or propped open so you can work in it, and ensure that that area gets plenty of light. During the winter months, you can plant a large number of vines or crops in these mini greenhouses that can provide fresh foods year round. This is also an ideal spot to start your seedlings in spring.

Once the end of the growing season hits, you’ll be very thankful if you created a compost pile where you can get free dirt and fertilizer. Enclosed three-bin systems are very easy to build, and provide the easiest long-term plan for gathering compost, but a simple garbage can purchased from the hardware store can function as a tumbler. Some people I know don’t even have bins, they simply have a pile covered with a tarp or wrapped in chicken wire. Compost is excellent for growing crops and a good way to reduce the amount of garbage you throw away every week.

In case you don’t have a lot of room, there’s still plenty you can do to garden. It’s possible to grow fruit trees in large pots, or if you have even a little room for planting in ground, you can maximize space by growing vine plants like cucumbers, pole beans and squash on trellises. Espalier is a method of growing a fruit tree next to a wall, and is ideal for creating a smaller fruit tree that actually makes very large and wholesome fruits in a small area. Arbors also work for maintaining a small tree in a controlled area. This method works best for pear plants and apples. It’s easy to grow many veggies in pots as well.

If you have the space and the equipment, there is no better “greenhouse” solution than a Walipini. A Walipini is a dug out section of earth that is enclosed with a clear plastic or glass roof. Underneath, you have a 12-month greenhouse that can help your plants endure in any climate. A traditional greenhouse is an option as well, but may not offer the 12-month guarantee of a Walipini.

We got most of our ideas for our backyard from two sources – Pinterest and our local botanic gardens. Both of these options offer a wide variety of alternative options for growing plants, and their hardscapes are not only beautiful, but often have tutorials attached.

Your home should be your castle. For all the talk in the preparedness community about bugging out and heading for the country, unless your home is under direct attack, it

Whether strolling through the park or romping in the backyard, there are a number of things that parents and caretakers should know and pass along, especially to young kids.

Recent statistics show that children younger than six account for a disproportionate percentage of poisoning cases, including nearly half of all poison exposures, according to the National Capital Poison Center.

The highest incidence of poisoning typically occurs in one and two-year-old, the poison center says, though all age groups are affected.

This guide will help parents and guardians know how to prevent poisonings from plants and pesticides and respond quickly to help keep kids safe.

Types of Poisonous Plants

The most common – and dangerous – types of poisonous plants found near backyards, parks, and trails include solanine, grayanotoxins, and cardiac glycosides:

  • Solanine can cause moderate nausea, vomiting, headaches or diarrhea. It’s found in a number of different foods and ornamental plants, but most often in Jerusalem Cherry, Nightshade, potato sprouts and unripe tomatoes. If a kid eats a plant that contains a lot of solanine, they might get drowsy, sweat a lot or experience changes in blood pressure and heart rate. Effects most often occur within two to 24 hours.
  • Grayanotoxins are common in azaleas, rhododendron, and other yard plants. If you’re off-road, watch out for Lambkill and mountain laurel. If a child ingests these plants, they might experience burning, tingling or numbness in their mouths. Other common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, sweating, and confusion and occur within three hours of exposure. In extreme cases, a child may have a seizure.
  • Cardiac Glycosides are most often found in Lily-of-the-Valley, foxglove oleander and squill. First signs include headaches, confusion, vomiting, stomach pain, and dizziness. Children might also experience changes in heart rate and blood pressure.

Here are some other plants to keep an eye out for:

  • Elephant ear plants
  • Daffodil and hyacinths
  • Larkspur
  • Wisteria
  • Acorn and oak leaves
  • Black locust
  • Mistletoe
  • Hemlock
  • Poppies
  • Poison oak, ivy, and sumac

How to Prevent Poisoning from Plants

The best thing parents can do for kids is to teach them never to pick or eat anything from a plant they find outside, regardless of how good it smells or looks. Make sure your children know to eat plants or fruits from outside only if they have permission and if the plant has been washed thoroughly.

Be careful not to confuse your child by picking items from a family garden and eating them outside. Be mindful of tops of potato plants and green portions of potato, which contain solanine, as well as rhubarb leaves, which are poisonous.

If you have or are taking care of a young child, take stock of backyard foliage before letting the child play. Keep berries, seeds, and bulbs out of reach, avoid using poisonous plants for decoration and eliminate all mushrooms from the yard. Be sure to double-check if it has rained recently.

In addition to regular supervision, consider constructing a safe gardening space within a raised garden or container and placing it in your yard. Fill the space with pesticide-free soil, smooth rocks or other items that are safe and will keep your child engaged.

If you’re planning a trip to the park, take a quick walk through the area and note any plants that may be poisonous. Same goes for any wilderness adventures or hikes. Remember that young kids will be attracted to plants with bright flowers or poisonous berries; avoid these at all costs.

What to Do If Your Child Touches or Eats a Poisonous Plant

If your child ingests a poisonous plant and starts to choke, has trouble breathing, swallowing or falls unconscious, call 911. If your child has come into contact with a poisonous plant but isn’t showing any immediate signs of distress, don’t wait for symptoms to show – call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Be prepared to share your child’s age, symptoms, and your best guess of the plant he/she consumed and, to the best of your knowledge, when the plant was ingested.

If you cannot seek immediate assistance, make sure that your child doesn’t have any fragments of the plant in their mouth and give them only small sips of water. Do not try to make them vomit. If there is any skin irritation, rinse affected areas with fresh water. Again call your local poison center as soon as possible.

Pesticide Safety

Remember that all pesticides carry a level of toxicity and pose a risk to all people, but especially to infants and small children, who are extra sensitive to their toxic effects.

If you choose to use pesticides, read the product’s label thoroughly. Shop around for the least toxic pesticide you can find and keep it in its original container and far away from children and pets.

When applying pesticides, take extra care to keep your children and pets as far away from the area as possible. Remember that the pesticide will take extra time to dry. If your lawn has recently been treated, ensure your children wear closed-toed shoes and sit on blankets or use other barriers between them and the grass. Make sure your kids wash their hands after playing in the grass.

Safe alternatives to combat pests in your garden and yard include insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils, and natural repellents. Here are a few ideas:

  • Vegetable oil mixed with a mild soap for insects like aphids and mites
  • Mild soap mixed with water for insects like whiteflies, beetles, aphids, and mites
  • Neem oil mixed with mild soap and water to disrupt the life cycle of insects and to protect plants before they become infested
  • Diatomaceous earth as a natural pesticide
  • Pureed garlic mixed with vegetable oil, mild soap, and water to act as an insect repellent
  • Garlic, onion, and cayenne pepper, mixed with liquid soap as a natural insecticide

Whether strolling through the park or romping in the backyard, there are a number of things that parents and caretakers should know and pass along, especially to young kids. Recent statistics

We all know about the dangerous side effects of over-the-counter and prescription painkillers. But when your head is pounding, it’s hard not to reach for the bottle of pills in your cabinet. We all experience pain every once in a while, whether it’s from a migraine, sore muscles or swollen joints. But instead of stocking up on painkillers, you might be able to find a natural painkiller in your own backyard!

Wild lettuce (Lactuca virosa) has been used for centuries as a natural painkiller and sedative. It looks similar to a cross between a dandelion and a thistle. Back in the day, many referred to it as the “poor man’s opium.” It contains a resinous milky sap which releases a small amount of pain-relieving opiates. When this substance is collected and dried, it’s known as lactucarium.

The main active compounds in lactucarium are lactucopicrin, lactucin and lactucopicrin. These compounds have been found to possess analgesic activity, along with sedative activity. Researchers have found that this “opium lettuce” was a well-known painkiller even before the Victorian Period. If you want a natural way to help reduce pain, wild lettuce might be able to help.

Here’s what you can use it for:

1. Insomnia

Thanks to its powerful sedative effects, wild lettuce can be used to treat insomnia and other sleep problems. It has a mild sedative effect on the body which works to calm anxiety and promote sleep. Wild lettuce calms and relaxes the body.

2. Anxiety

Wild lettuce is believed to slightly inhibit the function of the nervous system. This makes it a natural remedy for stress and anxiety. It provides a calming effect on the body and mind.

 

3. Pain

Wild lettuce can be used as a natural pain remedy for sore muscles and joints. It’s calming, relaxing and pain relieving effects match those of over-the-counter painkillers, without the dangerous side effects.

4. Asthma And Coughs

Wild lettuce can be used as a natural treatment for asthma and coughs. The powerful herb helps reduce irritation of the bronchial tubes and lugs. It’s also able to loosen mucus and difficulty breathing associated with asthma.

5. Migraines

Migraines can be extremely debilitating. Sometimes medication can’t even help relieve the pain. Wild lettuce can be used as a natural remedy for headaches and migraines. It relieves pain while calming the nervous system to reduce the anxiety associated with migraines.

How To Use Wild Lettuce

Wild lettuce has a naturally bitter taste. But if you make it into a tea and mix in a little honey, you can enjoy its many health benefits. You can look for it in your own backyard or in health food stores. To make wild lettuce tea, pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoons of wild lettuce. Let it steep for 10-15 minutes then drink! Add some honey for a sweeter taste.

Watch the video below for more information about wild lettuce extract:

We all know about the dangerous side effects of over-the-counter and prescription painkillers. But when your head is pounding, it’s hard not to reach for the bottle of pills in

Something that can be of value to any prepper at any stage of development, even urban preppers in tight dwellings, is planning. Permaculture’s sectors and zone maps are two of the most powerful tools for developing a plan, both for assessing risks, identifying resources, and developing efficient plans for a site.

Usually sectors gets covered first. I’m going to cover Zones instead. I highly endorse doing a search for “permaculture sectors” – that’s where risks and resources are going to be found. Research it with an eye for defensive and evacuation potential as well.

Zone mapping in permaculture is where we define areas by our presence, using activity and energy input level. By consolidating things that need the same amount of interaction, or even each other, we can greatly increase our efficiency. With a map that actually shows our patterns, and our goals, we can move or site things to maximize that efficiency.

Permie Zones

Permaculture zones are abstract geographic areas delineated from the other areas of our property – or our habitual paths – by the amount of time we spend in that area. The zones are based on access, not geographic nearness to our homes and beds. Many zone map examples are shown in concentric rings, but actual zones are drawn and defined by our energy and presence, not distance.

Permaculture universally recognizes 5 zones, in ascending order based on the time we spend there. Sometimes there’s a Zone 0 for the self or the home. The primary-activity and most-visited zones are Zones 1 and 2.

1 Very intensive presence – Most active, usually multiple trips/passes daily

2Intensive use – Active, possibly still multiple visits per day, but not quite as frequent as Zone 1

Zone 1 is where your paths most frequently take you. It’s based almost entirely on our human environment.

Things like kitchen herbs and table gardens that need irrigation or are harvested from daily, pets and livestock that are visited daily for care or entertainment, and daily waste and composting areas are located in Zone 1.

Our kitchens and bathrooms are pretty automatic on a household/apartment level, although in permaculture, most will automatically stick the whole house in Zone 0-1.

I don’t, because I have a front stoop I almost never go in/on/through, a spare bedroom I’m only in one part of the year, only pass through my den, and on a daily basis, I usually only poke my head into the living room if I’m looking for a person or a dog. On the other hand, my father spends far more time in the living room. He rarely uses his kitchen porch, whereas my mother and I are on ours ten to fifteen times a day for access to the yard, gardens, or letting animals in and out.

The inclinations between the back and kitchen doors and-or time spent in different rooms change the views and the opportunities our presence offers. For us, it matters. For others, maybe not as much.

Zone 1 sometimes includes livestock, or sometimes they’re bumped to Zone 2, even if they’re livestock we bed down and release, milk, collect eggs from, or feed twice daily.

Zone 2 includes those areas that may not see quite as much human interaction. Regularly permies will include things like perennials with longer seasons between harvests and less daily and weekly care needed, and some livestock like foraging cattle or meat goats.

Zones 3 and 4 see increasingly less human interaction and fewer human inputs (or will, once established).

Zone 3 is larger elements, usually – the bulk foods like grains and orchards, animal pastures, ponds. They are things we may only see weekly, monthly or quarterly.

Zone 4 gets even less interaction. Usually this is managed land, tailored for foraging, livestock fodder and crop trees, timber, and longer-term grazing.

Zone 5 is an area that humans largely leave alone. Some will define this as an entirely wild area. Some will define it as a managed wild area.

To some, it’s for nature and only nature – left as a green-way – while to others, periodic hunting or foraging in this area is expected. For others, Zone 5 might be brush piles, frog houses, owl and dove and bat houses, little native patches of weeds, and other things we scatter through a yard and garden and affix to buildings to encourage helpful wildlife.

This site deepgreenpermaculture.com has a more detailed set of examples and some graphics of Zone definitions. It also has some subsections about common zone sizes.

Permaculture Research Institute – Urban farm rabbits located over composting bins, near water catchment, and along path between house, shed and garage.

Urban & Suburban Sites

There’s nothing wrong with taking a set of known factors and twitching it. Zone definitions can be rearranged and relisted, tailoring them to fit our lifestyles.

For an apartment, condo, or a single-family home on less than a half-acre, zones shrink and include our floorplan. When we turn to sector mapping, we zoom out and include more of our neighborhood with condos and small yards, but that “zoom” can apply to zones as well.

Regardless of where we’re going, or what’s around us as we putter through the day, our habits tend to change by season, and what’s around us changes. There may be areas we can “expand” into besides our own property.

That’s really worthy of its own article, but some examples would be any areas we can hit with seed bombs for wild edibles or for plants that can be improving the soil now for use in a crisis. We might have parks, verges, ditches and other areas that are untapped resources but are on some of our daily, weekly and monthly beaten paths. We might also find landowners (or absent landowners) to talk to about growing space, or have rooftops or fire escape landings that we can use for planters and water catchment, now or “after”.

Knowing where we go most frequently will help even the tiniest studio prepper identify places that have the most potential with the least effort – and that’s really what efficiency is all about, with efficiency one of the major gods of the permies.

Multiple Maps

What I recommend and what I do for clients is to actually print three identical maps. Two are for “right now”, and are going to be our habitual activity maps, one for the “high season” when we’re outside the most and one for the “slow season” when we’re outside least.

The third map is going to be our “ideal” map – what we’re about to work to make happen.

See, we’re going to use these maps to identify existing zones using our current activity. However, going back to efficiency, we’re also going to use them as a planning tool. Some of the trends we identify will lead to changes, hopefully consolidating our zones of activity for better efficiency.

We can also nab a wider view for our neighborhoods, even as home- and landowners.

Those with significant acreage might want to do one map set with just the house and the 0.5-1 acre it sits on and a second set with the whole property and a margin around it.

Supplies for Mapping

Printing and drawing really is the easiest way to make this happen. You can use computer programs to trace lines that will progressively darken or lighten with every pass. That’s not crazy talk, since it offers opportunities to make multiple-scale maps at once, then just zoom in and out. For the average client, it’s a black-and-white drawing or Google map of their property, regularly with a chunk of the surrounding area that’s going to leave some margin for additional notes.

I really like the Google Earth maps that are nice and up-to-date, and that you can adjust by season and time of day. They let you pick noon in the barest of winter, which lets you “see” more of your property. If you can’t get a free submission to Google Earth, find out if a local library has it, do some screen grabs at various zooms/scales and print them off wherever it’s cheapest.

For paper, standard letter 8.5×11” is fine, or we can go up to 11×17 or even 17×24” if we want.

We’ll also want some coloring supplies.

A couple of sharpened crayons or colored pencils are fine. Markers also work, although you either want really fine points or really big maps. Aim for colors that are easy to see on a simple map, that you’ll be able to see the map through (no dark Sharpies or pens), and that will darken as you overlap lines. Red, orange, blue, and pale purple tend to work really well.

One Map

If you only want to print one map, no big there. Hit the dollar store for some of that thin notebook or copy paper that you can trace through. You can shine a light through some plastic or use a bright window to help see better. Call it an overlay.

You can also create a larger map and make overlays of your zones and sectors using contact paper and map pens or grease pencils.

Overlays will also help reduce printing in case you decide you want to add seasonal maps, do maps for each member of the family, or combine everything into a single map.

It’s also a backup against an ill-timed sneeze, doggy nose-bump, or a beloved’s alarm going off and making us jump with a marker in our hand. Hey, we’re preppers. Prepare for crazy things.

The Process of Activity Mapping

This is where the “darkens as we overlap lines, but not too dark” comes into play. Observe, then color.

Start with your first work-day wake-up, and trace your tracks through the house, then outside it. Back and forth, bathroom, coffee, paper, animals, meals, vehicles, back and forth, all through your day until you tuck yourself in at night. To and from the bus, trash can, walking the dogs, as we hang out and retrace steps from vehicles or gardens to sheds and garages, the hose, indoor faucets, all the way down our rows and around our flower/garden beds.

Don’t draw bird-flies straight lines. Trace the actual path everyone takes. Then repeat for the work week, and the weekend.

Remember, it’s the overlaps – resulting in darker colors – that give us our current intensity of use. Be honest with yourself. You’re the one who does or doesn’t benefit.

Zone Map

Your existing zone map just drew itself.

The darkest areas are your 0-1-2 zones. Your palest and untouched areas are your Zone 4 and really, really excellent places to expand that Zone 4 or develop your Zone 5.

Now we go through, and kind of divide those spaces into blobs and blurbs and modern art. We can re-draw or trace our map and give them different colors now, or make them more uniform shades, or just more clearly delineate edges.

You should be able to identify some of the areas you only hit a couple of times a year, like pruning, or places we inspect and repair only as needed.

We should also be observant enough to know those wide, looping, lightly-drawn areas are only us mowing – and maybe we keep those in our map in their apparent zones, or maybe we go back and remove those, or lighten them to more accurately reflect how much attention they actually get while they’re getting mowed. Otherwise, especially for us Southerners, our summer map is going to show our twice-weekly or 2-6 times-monthly sing-along ride or teenager’s slave labor as getting more attention than our workshop and laundry room.

Shoveling snow and raking leaves has some impact on applying the information we just gathered, but not really a ton, so you can go light there, too, if you like.

Applying the Zone Map

Our map doesn’t just sit there. It’s a tool, one of many.

Most of us are likely to have some of our darker/intense areas out there on their own, and many of us likely have dark lines like a drunken spider’s web hooking and criss-crossing.

Those oddball dark jags are places where we can consolidate some of our activities, instead of leaving them suspended and isolated. That will save us time and effort, which will make us more efficient.

When we plan to expand gardens or even change where we keep the tools we use, consult the existing zone map. Places we’re already passing make excellent locations for those.

If we’re passing them regularly, they get more attention and we see that they’re dry, being eaten by critters, sick and sad, or ready to harvest. Being faster to respond to them, and able to respond immediately with tools if necessary, will result in better yields.

Worm bin composter located near the source of feed and easy access to water.

Sometimes we might look at our plan and actively renovate things we already have in place – especially if those things don’t get the attention they should. The extra attention and ease may make it worth it to switch from conventional beds to a series of trash cans turned into vertical gardens, from hot composting piles kept across the yard to a pipe composter in a keyhole bed or a worm composter near the kitchen or the trash.

We may move livestock so it’s faster and easier to get them into gardens for pest control or tilling, or to get composted manure onto large plots. We might move them somewhere else so they’re easier to toss kitchen scraps to.

  

We might eschew the usual advice of sticking an orchard out-out so we can put small livestock under it, or to make some additional use of our dog runs and kids’ play areas.

Things like the sectors that affect our property, stacking elements and stacking functions, mapping water movement, and switching to low- or lower-labor growing styles that fit into our busy lives can all help make our properties, big or small, more efficient and productive.

A zone map will help us further analyze where we can increase our efficiency and help us visualize how the puzzle pieces of our production and resources can best fit together. We can then play with the map, marking future expansions to see how they’ll fit in with our current traffic flows and patterns, and make our properties more versatile, resilient and productive all over again.

Usually sectors gets covered first. I’m going to cover Zones instead. I highly endorse doing a search for “permaculture sectors” – that’s where risks and resources are going to be

 

I am vegan and I have no intention of being vegan in SHTF. However knowing some tips and tricks about the vegan diet might help us all out when the worst happens and the shelves empty forever.

For most people likely the idea of having to eat an exclusively vegan diet is their idea of the apocalypse! No more bacon and beef burgers. Leaving aside the other valid reasons to embrace a vegan diet before SHTF this article is a none expert’s view on how to eat better if there are no more open stores and the only meat for miles is the odd rat.
Personally I plan on eating that rat in SHTF but I was recently asked to put together a how to article on how to be vegan in SHTF if meat, fish, dairy, and/or eggs are unavailable. I would argue that meat food preparation is the easiest of all if you embrace the SHTF and accept that Costco is gone forever and so is McDonalds. You should have plenty of meat sources stored and have a good idea of how to hunt and trap those local rats.

Having been vegetarian for 12 years and vegan the last 5 years I know how to eat well without animal products. I also know, and this is a critical point, that small amounts of meat and fish go a long, long way. While grabbing that tin of meat balls and eating it dumped over your white rice might work in a short-term SHTF in a long-term event what a waste! Use a tiny amount as protein is readily available from nature and using a huge intake is not necessary. More on this later.

Eating vegan means variety and eating a wide range of different vegetable sources. Eating vegan using the available produce in our modern world is easy and tasty. In SHTF this won’t be the case but nor will it be the case for anyone eating any other type of diet.

What Can Go Wrong with Being a Vegan?

Nothing much as it improves your sex life and general longevity but certain things can easily become dangerously low using a vegan diet. These pre SHTF include calcium, vitamin D, iron, vitamin B12, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids (Read more here). The occasional rat takes care of calcium (hum, rat bones!), iron, and zinc. In fact your garden (you have plans for one and have seeds and know how to save them, right?) will almost supply everything you need.

Zinc

This needs to be taken care of as it is essential but how to get it when there is just no meat or stores anymore? Soya beans grow easily even in southern Canada so growing them and knowing how they can be used and stored is an essential skill. Green peas also are easy to grow and help with zinc. Nuts need to be found, prepared, and stored. I have acorns and black walnuts in my area. You need to know what you have in yours and how to harvest, prepare, and store these nuts. It is labor intensive and a skill.

Calcium

Spinach I hear you cry! Popeye had this as his source of strength. Yes and no. It is high in calcium but that calcium is bound to oxalate which renders it hard to absorb. For this reason use it as it is easy to grow and tasty but also grow rocket, cabbage, parsley, and kale (Bet you have been waiting for kale! Preparing tips after this this section). Use these heavily in both SHFT and now. Cow’s milk is very; very good at blocking calcium absorption which is why very few vegan females have osteoporosis.

Iron

A normal vegan diet supplies plenty of iron despite the myths. Just eat a lot of dark green vegetables. I became anemic (lack of iron) about a year and half into my badly thought out vegetarian diet and I suspect a lot of preppers will as well in a long-term SHTF. Eat those vegetables, eat them a lot, and eat them daily.

B12

This vitamin is infamous in vegans yet most vegans and almost everyone else know next to nothing about it. You will need supplements and fortified foods. However gardening in good quality soil and regular rotation of the fields will introduce some B12 into your body if you do not mechanically scrub the vegetables. This is not a reliable source so long-term you need to eat small amounts of meat. Fortified vegan foods and grains work well now but in long-term SHTF I plan to use my rat traps!

Can you fish in SHTF? Fish and the problem with a source for Omega 3 mainly goes away.

Omega 3 Fatty Acid

Black walnuts are essential in SHTF and a good long-term supply of chia seeds is helpful. You can get Omega 3 from soya beans and leafy greens but it is unreliable. Can you fish in SHTF? Fish and this issue mainly goes away. Salmon run near me and I plan on grabbing them in the Spring and dehydrating them for the year.

Vitamin D

This is of no concern in SHTF as the time in the sun throughout the year will generally give you adequate amounts. Eating the occasional egg also removes any worries about this. Know where the local birds nest and eggs are on the menu in the early Summer.

What Might Be Lacking in a Vegan diet in SHTF?

Top of my list is Vitamin C as I do not live in Florida. There’s no issue at present as trucks and trains bring me lots of oranges but in a long term SHTF I need sources found in Southern Canada.

So wild strawberries and blackberries I will have to find, harvest, and store. But what can I easily grow to cover this one? Orange trees won’t work. Have seeds and grow bell peppers, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, and leafy greens. One of the go to foods in SHTF needs to be parsley. Easy to grow, looks like nothing worth plundering, and full of vitamin C and calcium. Most people might add a sprig for decoration or a sprinkle on their slab of meat but as a vegan I can tell you it is awesome chopped up and added to salads and rice. Eat lots of it.

Protein.

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me “so how do you get your protein?” I would be very rich. My diet is loaded with it and yours is probably in excess if you eat meat. Protein in excess is very bad for the kidneys. Peas, beans, amaranth, millet, and dried pastas are full of it. Eat a wide variety of vegetables and this one is taken care of. I said earlier I would mention vegan ways versus business normal. Well I bet you have tins of tuna and Spam hidden away in your stock pile? Add a tin to a lot of rice and eat over 2-3 days. Before each meal chop up and throw in available greenery. Protein now is not your concern.

Time

A vegan diet without a decent blender (Vitamix or BlendTek) is nearly impossible. I do plan some solar power to use mine but without one preparing food will be a massive time commitment. Cook in bulk and add the greens each meal. Have excellent knives and have the ability to sharpen them every time you use them.

What do you need to know now about vegan diets?

Have seeds and know where you will grow them

Have seeds and know where you will grow them. For me I plan to grow a lot the first season after the first Winter post SHTF. I cannot see much point defending a garden from hungry people. Up here in Southern Canada they will die in the first Winter and afterwards trading and survivors should be friendly.

My main foods stored are vegan with long-lasting tomato sauces, pastes, etc. and pastas (fortified). I have a fair amount of tinned fish and meat as I think sticking to being a vegan in the SHTF would be deadly. Like foreign vacations the vegan diet is great for you but in SHTF won’t be available or would be dangerous. Vegans need lots of different types of intake to stay healthy and that just won’t happen easily in SHTF.

Powered greens and vegan powders are generally very expensive and I can see no use for them at all in SHTF. For me they are not a part of my planning but research them and they might be a bridge for you. I prefer actual real preserved foods than using this sort of thing. Collard, Swiss Chard, and Kale all dehydrate easily under glass in the Summer and can crush up and packed tight into a glass jar. Even without canning this source of green stuff lasts 8-12 months. Have lots of glass jars with air tight lids.

One thing you might not know is that Kale and Swiss Chard and Collard greens come in different varieties. Have a wide selection of types not just one type. Another tip is decent knives and remove the stems and only eat the leaf. Good scissors work very well in preparing leaf vegetables. The stems are very bitter. I think people hate Kale because of this basic preparing error. Kale is actually really tasty.

Amaranth

This is a seed that thinks it is a grain and a good one. It is complete protein and should be part of your pre SHTF garden. Grows tall and has colorful red leaves so put it around your place not just in the vegetable garden. It does well in drought and heat. For fun in SHTF you can pop it and have popcorn around the camp fire. Boil the seeds for a strange but okay porridge or use as a type of pasta/grain.

The leaves are a decent addition to any meal and the root can be eaten if the plant is mature though I have not tried the root. Plant it around the neighborhood as it acts like a weed and no one else will know to eat it in SHTF as red means danger!

Quinoa is a similarly useful crop and I am growing my first this year.

The obvious is the Three Sisters and history is something we all need to focus on. Again my tip is different types of squash, corn, and beans. The more variety the less chance of a crop wipe out and variety is the spice of life.

Anyhow I hope this gave you food for thought

  I am vegan and I have no intention of being vegan in SHTF. However knowing some tips and tricks about the vegan diet might help us all out when the

 

It’s not a secret that self-reliance plays an essential role in a SHTF scenario. Besides the basic knowledge about making a fire and a shelter, purifying water and dressing wounds, you also have to make sure you have an ample supply of food. Canned beans and frozen meat are bound to run out sooner or later. And if you’d like a side dish with fresh game, you’d better draw-up a checklist of all the essential garden tools you need for a vegetable garden. Tending a small crop sounds daunting, but, in fact, it can be pretty easy once you get the hang of it and you grasp the essential things. Backyard farming might involve a lot of early mornings and hard work, but it’s a gift that keeps on giving. And if our ancestors aced it, we can do it too. Keeping a vegetable garden in tip-top shape will require a wide range of essential garden tools. Get some inspiration from the list of tools we’ve compiled for the beginner prepper who wants to grow his own tomatoes and cilantro.

Hand rake

You’ve got plenty of hand rakes to choose from. As long as it feels comfortable and sturdy, a hand rake will help you easily clear any type of debris around your plants and vegetables. With lengths that vary from 3-15 inches, hand rakes are adjustable and can come in handy for more than just cleaning your flower beds.

Water breaker

Vegetables will need a lot of water to grow and become plump and tasty. For a gentle, daily irrigation you can choose a water breaker that is suitable for mature plants and flowers. They’re convenient, easy to use and can even be safely handled by children helping out with household chores.

Shears

If you’re a novice to gardening, you might not know that grass and shrubs will grow everywhere and will take over fragile plants if they are not trimmed in time. This is where shears come in handy. Designed to cut tough shrubs as well as leather and other fabrics, shears will be useful in gardening chores and around the house for cutting cables or boxes.

Hand pruners

There’s a lot of cutting involved in gardening. Plant’s thickness directly influences the tool you need. To tackle branches that don’t exceed three-fourths of an inch, you’ll need a hand pruner. This tool has very sharp blades and will easily cut through anything.

Footwear

Never do any gardening chores in your everyday shoes. They’re bound to get dirty and damaged in addition to failing terribly at keeping your feet dry. To make sure you feel comfortable and feel free to step in puddles and mud, choose a pair of rubber boots. They also double as rain boots, they’re comfortable and extremely easy to clean and dry. Don’t shy away from investing in a more expensive pair that will stand the test of time and safely get you through all seasons.

GardenVegetables

Gardening gloves

A pair of high quality gardening gloves is a must both for newbies and seasoned gardeners. These will keep your hands protected and won’t allow thorns to pierce through. Depending on how much gardening work you plan to do, you can choose between a really light weight pair or a thicker, heavy duty set. You’ll figure out what you need once you start working and get some hands-on experience. Stubborn bushes will require a solid pair of gloves, while handling more delicate plants a simple cotton pair will suffice.

Gardening aprons

We’re used to associate aprons with the kitchen and cooking, but their use is much more extensive than that. Gardening aprons have a self-explanatory purpose: they protect clothes from dirt, mud and water, but they also come with plenty of pouches and pockets. These are very useful for carrying around seeds, small tools, protection glasses and garden twine. You can even use them to hold your keys and phone, as long as they’re secured with a zipper or button, to prevent accidentally losing them among plants.

Wheelbarrow or cart

You might not need this straight away, but you’ll start wishing you had one as your workload increases. Wheelbarrows or carts will come in handy for moving waste, bringing in compost, taking shrubs or trees from one place to another, taking large quantities of ripe vegetables from the garden into the house and carrying around equipment. Besides being very helpful in your vegetable garden, these tools will prove to be of service on other household chores as well.

Garden pegs, fleece and twine

These bits and pieces might be small, but they’ll help any beginner prepper keep his garden in tip-top shape. Pegs will prove useful for securing nets or lines to the ground. Fleece is generally used for protecting the plant from freezing overnight in spring time. And, finally, twine is very versatile and will have a use in most of your gardening activities, such as tying plants to stakes.

Carrots

Other criteria to consider before starting planting seeds:

  • Sun exposure. Second to water, Sun is the best friend of vegetables. They need at least six hours of Sun exposure every day to thrive. When you choose the spot for your vegetable garden, factor in Sun exposure and go for a spot that won’t be shadowed by buildings or trees throughout the day.
  • Soil types. Your vegetables won’t be able to grow in any given kind of soil. Find out what you’re dealing with by using a soil test it and, if it is the case, enrich it with compost.
  • Seeds and water. Research different types of seeds to know what’s suitable for the area where you live and prepare to take good care of them. Vegetables will need plenty of water daily, so if there’s not enough rain, you’re going to have to step in and water them yourself.
  • Placement and size. As a rule, it’s better not to place your vegetable garden next to a tree, which will steal all the nutrients your veggies need and cast a shadow on the plot. When you’re considering the size of your backyard farm, take into consideration that a 16 x 10 feet garden will be enough for a family of four during summer time and still offer plenty for canning.

  It’s not a secret that self-reliance plays an essential role in a SHTF scenario. Besides the basic knowledge about making a fire and a shelter, purifying water and dressing wounds,